I have not read Amoris Laetitia, the document Pope Francis wrote in summing up the two synods on the family, but I have to say I was very disappointed in the negative portrait that Father de Souza paints of our beloved Holy Father, Francis, in the recent “The Year of Amoris Laetitia” (page one, Jan. 8 issue).
I do believe from reading “The Joy of the Gospel” and observing this dear man that he deserves a much more positive presentation of his motives and attitudes. Pope Francis is, in my opinion, God’s gift to his Church and to the world for these years we are living in.
Moreover, I am disappointed in the Register.
I read what I believe — though I admit again to not having read Amoris Laetitia — a much more accurate critique, a very positive one, by Cardinal Christophe Schönborn in America magazine.
Why does not the Register, for the sake of balance, publish an article by Cardinal Schönborn, or someone of his stature, in favor of Amoris Laetitia, and let your readers make up their own minds?
As for Cardinal Schönborn’s defense of the papal document, it was, I thought, brilliant, in that it showed just what Our Holy Father was trying to achieve. Of course, this is a discussion for scholars, which the rest of us should just respectfully listen to.
Given what I know of our beloved Pope Francis, I am of the mind that, in the end, he will be shown to be a giant of his time and that others will come to see what he was trying to convey.
The editor responds: The Register has published varying pieces of criticism on the much-discussed papal document, from the commentary you cite above to interviews with Cardinal Schönborn, which we ran online and on page 10 of the May 1, 2016, print edition (“Cardinal Schönborn Says Amoris Laetitia Continues What John Paul II Taught”). Also see: “Cardinal Schönborn’s Five-Point Guide” and “Schönborn: Amoris Laetitia Needs Serious Theological Discussion.”
Regarding your latest political and biotech coverage: In their respective quests to end slavery and racial discrimination, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. stood firmly on the Declaration of Independence, embraced the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” as America’s equitable “gold standard,” and sought the good of all Americans, those then living and those yet to come.
Led by Lincoln and then King, Americans came to understand that slavery and racial segregation were truly un-American, as they were artificial, man-made conditions, created and sustained through force.
Thus, the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, and the Civil Rights Act passed.
In 2008, when Barack Obama was elected president, conditions were ripe to make him our next great civil-rights leader.
Being black, a lawyer and a person who knew the pain of parental separation, Obama possessed a unique blend of moral, legal and personal authority to lead the attack on the latest offense to our equitable gold standard, the commercial manufacture of infants.
In this process, known as “third-party reproduction” or “TPR,” babies come to be artificially through the purchase of donor sperm and/or donor eggs.
As a black man, Barack Obama knew that African-Americans were still trying to reconnect the biological roots severed in slavery. Yet in TPR, state-licensed sperm banks and fertility clinics were again unapologetically severing biological roots.
As a lawyer, Obama knew that separate systems are never equal. Yet TPR is as separate a human reproductive system as you can get. And, finally, as the child of a father who abandoned him, Obama knew that parental rejection hurts and carries lifelong scars.
Sadly, instead of using his incredible authority to end the manufacture of infants, Barrack Obama championed marriage equality, which ensured that TPR would not only continue, but would expand.
For, as was said in the film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?: “Children must come, because without children, I don’t know what you’d call it, but you couldn’t call it marriage.”
The opportunity to become a great civil-rights leader on this singular issue now passes to Donald Trump. Should he simply re-embrace the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God as America’s gold standard as Lincoln and King did, America could be true to her roots and at the same time ensure that she did not sever the roots of anyone else.
Penn Valley, Pennsylvania
In Father Raymond de Souza’s commentary regarding the controversy surrounding Amoris Laetitia (“The Year of Amoris Laetitia,” page one, Jan. 8-21 issue), I came across perhaps the most disturbing paragraph I have read — and it had nothing to do with the document.
In it, Father de Souza states that “unworthy reception of Communion … happens in most parishes every Sunday in great numbers.”
He continues, “Many people receive Communion who are in an objective state of mortal sin … [and] the existing norm is that it happens without anything being said about it at all.”
That such widespread profanation of the sacrament is the case cannot be reasonably argued against; and its general acceptance — that it is the rare priest who opens his mouth to instruct his flock on what might prevent worthy reception — is unfathomable.
But to hear it stated in an orthodox Catholic publication by an orthodox priest in such a matter-of-fact and equally acceptant manner is frightening. (If Father was being ironic: This is no subject for irony!)
To inject a note of hope in an apparently hopeless situation: A moment of encouragement transpired on the Octave of Christmas, when a parish priest said in the most gentle, humble voice: “Jesus is God”; then that we hold God in our hands when we come up to receive Communion; and, finally — in a whisper — “Do you believe this?”
(Though, ideally, one might have hoped for an additional whisper: “If not, then you should not receive him,” still, one could feel his question penetrate hearts.)
I understood later that people (including myself) are generally like children in their understanding of the faith and the teachings of the Church. They know so little. It is as if they are still in second grade.
And so they need to be spoken to as one would speak to a second grader, not mockingly, but genuinely, as if really speaking to a small child.
This priest does so naturally — his manner is always humble and quiet. But all priests and teachers of the faith could learn from his example — they wouldn’t have to fear offending anyone as they speak the truth.
Then there might indeed be hope the sacrament will cease to be widely profaned, and souls no longer greatly endangered.
Due to an editing error, the Register’s interview, “Peter Kreeft: ‘St. Augustine Is a Man for Our Times,’” (Education, Feb. 19 issue), contained a textual error.
Kreeft’s answer originally stated, “He used the burning light (his mind) and his heart to get through to God. Augustine shows us the errors OF truth — the byways, not just the main ways.”
It should have read, “errors AND truth.” The Register regrets the error.